News

Exercising Discretion when Sharing Information on Social Media Sites

It is more important than ever to be vigilant about the information you share on social media sites (e.g. Facebook). Social media users' activity-online and offline-is now much easier to track as a result of the integration between social media sites and third party applications or websites. For example, if you allow Facebook to show that you have "checked in" at a location or authorize a website to share the fact that you have visited the site, you create a trail that could be used against you. In addition, devices and applications, once enabled, can automatically track and share your activity without any action on your part. Deleting posts after the fact will not completely erase the trail you leave; and deleting posts may create legal problems for you in certain situations. The best way to protect yourself is to carefully consider what you are posting before you post, and if in doubt, don't post.

New ADA Accommodation Rules

The new accessibility rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act will be enforced starting March 15, 2012. The new standards set minimum requirements for newly-designed and constructed or newly-altered government facilities, public accommodations and commercial facilities if construction begins on or after March 15, 2012. Existing facilities are only required to comply with the new regulations to the extent that compliance is "readily achievable." A comprehensive list of the new standards is available at the Department of Justice's ADA standards website at  http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.

California Class Action Challenges Facebook's "Sponsored Stories" Advertisements

A California class action suit is challenging Facebook's "sponsored story" advertisements. In Fraley v. Facebook, the lead plaintiff visited a website and "liked" the sponsor's product to qualify for a free software demonstration but did not knowingly give permission for Facebook to use her name or likeness to endorse the product. Facebook attached her name and image to a paid advertisement, stating that she "liked" the product, leading to a lawsuit. For a copy of the Court's order regarding the claims against Facebook, see http://epic.org/privacy/vppa/Fraley%20v.%20Facebook%20%28appropriation%20case%29%20Order%2012-16.pdf

Attorney Chris Bandazian Re-elected to a Second Three-Year Term on Bedford Town Council

Chris was re-elected to a second three-year term on the Bedford Town Council in March 2011, and was voted by the Town Council to serve as Vice Chairman. Chris previously served on the Town Council as an appointed member in 2004-2005. He currently serves as Chairman of the Bedford Energy Commission, as a member of the Merrimack Valley Regional Water District Board, as a member of the Bedford Community Television Board, as a Bedford School Board liaison, and as an alternate member of the Bedford Planning Board.

New Policy Statements Prohibit Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Pregnancy

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a new policy statement that adds gender identity and pregnancy status to the list of protected categories in its equal employment opportunity policy. In addition to other classes that were already protected, the updated agency policy now prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or pregnancy when making hiring decisions, handing out promotions and making disciplinary determinations. To view the full press release, go to: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/oasam/OASAM20110618.htm

BAVB Launches New Facebook Page

We have just launched a Facebook page for clients and friends of Borofsky, Amodeo-Vickery & Bandazian, P.A. With this page, our goal is to keep clients and friends up-to-date concerning legal developments that could affect them, as well as current events going on at the firm.

Our Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Borofsky-Amodeo-Vickery-Bandazian-PA/135435586520122. When you have a moment, we invite you to go to our page and click on the "Like" button. We look forward to keeping in touch with you via this new platform.

Attorney Amodeo-Vickery Attends National College for DUI Defense Seminar

Attorney Andrea Amodeo-Vickery will be attending the National College for DUI Defense's 2011 Summer Session in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Summer Session is a specialized training program conducted by the NCDD for its members. Recognized by the American Bar Association, the NCDD is an elite group of lawyers dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

House Passes Resolution That Could Prevent Social Security Claimants from Pursuing Claims in Federal Court

On February 17, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its Continuing Resolution, which includes measures that could prevent Social Security claimants and veterans from pursuing their claims in federal court by temporarily suspending the payment of Equal Access to Justice (EAJA) fees.

Amendment 195 states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the payment of fees and other expenses under section 504 of title 5, United States Code, or section 2412(d) of title 28, United States Code."

Although the amendment's sponsor (Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis, R-WY) suggests that the payments are only being frozen for the remainder of 2011, the concern is that this is merely the first in a series of steps toward a more permanent prohibition or a move to significantly scale back the EAJA.

Any prohibition of payment of EAJA fee awards could make it impossible for Social Security claimants and veterans to find lawyers willing to take their cases in to federal courts.

We urge everyone to take this case to their Senators, who will be considering the Continuing Resolution beginning the week of February 28, 2011, as well as to your Representatives, who will be negotiating with the Senate for ultimate passage of the Continuing Resolution.

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Seals Fate for Consumer Class Action Lawsuits

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could effectively kill class action lawsuits by consumers. The decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion allows companies selling products or services to force consumers to arbitrate their claims individually instead of joining a class action. Mandatory arbitration clauses are now routine when consumers buy products or services. Customers aren't given a choice. Most of the time, they aren't even aware there is an arbitration clause. Class actions made it possible for consumers with claims that didn't involve a lot of money to join a class action to get help in court. Fighting consumer claims individually usually isn't worth the time and cost, and class actions also informed other consumers of dangers, misconduct or illegal practices. The decision is a huge victory for companies at the expense of consumers. Congress must be urged to pass legislation to correct this Supreme Court decision. More information can be found at: http://classactionlawsuitsinthenews.com/class-action-law/att-mobility-llc-v-concepcion-supreme-court-decides-the-fate-of-class-action-lawsuits/

NH House Bill 216 Will Help Combat Thoughtless Denials of Workers' Compensation Medical Benefits

The New Hampshire Legislature is considering passage of a bill held over from last year that will award claimants their attorneys fees and costs if a workers' compensation carrier refuses to pay a medical bill and then, after a hearing is scheduled, agrees to pay the bill fewer than 7 days before the hearing. Although the original bill has been weakened by the Legislature and still puts deserving claimants through the frustrating, worrisome and sometimes costly process of preparing for a hearing on medical bills that clearly should be paid, HB 216 is a vast improvement over the current situation.

Please take the time to contact your NH State Representatives, http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx, and ask for their "yes" vote on HB 216.

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